Donald Trump has shared a tweet by a notorious far right conspiracy theorist who gained headlines for taking a “rape Melania” sign to a rally.
The US president retweeted a post by Jack Posobiec - a figure linked to the so-called “alt right” movement who is famed for promoting wholly erroneous and debunked conspiracy theories.
Mr Posobiec is best known for the Pizzagate conspiracy theory which falsely alleged a Washington pizzeria was the home of a child sex abuse ring that included people such as Hilary Clinton and her then campaign chief John Podesta. The baseless and spurious theory led to a man firing a gun at the pizza joint in 2016.
Mr Posobiec took a “rape Melania” sign to anti-Trump protest just after the 2016 presidential election in the attempt to paint such rallies as aggressive and belligerent, according to Buzzfeed News.
But this did not stop Mr Trump from sharing a tweet posted by Mr Posobiec, who has denied the charge he took such a sign to the rally, over the weekend.
“Dick Durbin called Trump racist for wanting to end chain migration. Here's a video of Dick Durbin calling for an end to chain migration,” Mr Posobiec said in the tweet that Mr Trump then chose to share.
The tweet claimed it linked to a video of Mr Durbin calling for an end to chain migration but the video actually showed the Democrat commenting that the DREAM act being extended would not result in “chain migration” - a term that refers to family immigration.
The section of the clip cut by Mr Posobiec shows Mr Durbin reading a description of the DREAM Act and its affect on family migration.
Mr Durbin, a senior Democrat senator from Illinois, was among the senators who attended a meeting with Mr Trump in which the president is said to have referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries.”
Mr Durbin told reporters Mr Trump had made the remarks, saying: “I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday”.
He added: “The President started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly.”
Mr Trump eventually issued a denial on Twitter, insisting the language he used was "tough" but different to what was claimed.
Mr Posobiec, who started the viral #DumpStarWars hashtag in December 2016 after claiming Rogue One contained anti-Trump scenes, has also pushed a conspiracy theory that the Democratic National Committee was behind the murder of staffer Seth Rich. It has been proven to be completely false.
Mr Posobiec, who worked for far right Canada based site The Rebel Media for two months in 2017, has sparked criticism for his theories. Will Sommer, an editor at US political publication The Hill said Posobiec "make[s] stuff up, relentlessly" and claimed "there's no one at that level."
This is by no means the first time Mr Trump has stoked controversy for retweeting someone on the far right. Last November, the billionaire shared a series of islamophobic tweets from far-right extremist group Britain First, prompting outrage for disseminating its "deplorable" ideology to a global audience.
The video - which is fake - purported to show a Muslim man attacking a boy on crutches. The White House sought to defend Mr Trump at the time and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted that regardless of whether the videos were real “the threats are real – no matter how you look at it”.
Mr Trump also shared a tweet by Mr Posobiec in the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville over the summer which saw anti-fascist activists clash with neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and farright supporters. Clashes turned deadly after a 20-year-old man, who officials say had Nazi sympathies, mowed his car into the crowd of peaceful anti-fascist demonstrators and killed a female civil rights activist.
Mr Posobiec had posted a link to a news story tallying those killed and injured in shootings in Chicago, adding: "Meanwhile: 39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?"
Mr Trump, who has frequently drawn attention to the issue of gun violence in Chicago in his Twitter tirades and speeches, shared the tweet penned by him.
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